GDI Omni Inc.

A leading provider of integrated facility services across the U.S. and Canada
Written by: 
Matt Dodge
Produced by: 
Victor Martins

With over 22,000 employees, GDI Integrated Facility Services (GDI) is one of North America’s largest integrated facility service providers. Headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, and Montreal, Quebec, GDI operates 28 offices across Canada and the U.S.

Founded over 100 years ago, the company combines innovative cleaning techniques with leading service to provide an all-in-one cleaning and maintenance solution for customers across a range of sectors including office, commercial and retail, educational, industrial, food production, hospitality, health care and aviation.

GDI Omni Inc.

GDI’s slate of cleaning services include janitorial and sanitation, food plant sanitation, disinfection, mission-critical environments; carpet, floor, furniture and upholstery cleaning; high dusting and industrial stain removal. The company also offers outdoor cleaning services for parking lots, windows, hard surfaces, snow and graffiti removal and full landscape maintenance and services.

“Each job is customized specifically to each client. We look at each job and we engineer a solution in a way that ensures a high efficiency value for our customers,” says Ahmed Boomrod, president and chief operating officer-U.S. at GDI.

Expertise in time-critical services

In addition to performing regular maintenance and cleaning work, GDI is often called in to perform time-sensitive cleaning services to help customers get their food manufacturing facilities up and running after food safety-related shutdowns.

While it would be easy for a company like GDI to take advantage of its customers in such a time of need, Boomrod often finds himself advocating more cost-effective solutions that keep clients coming back time and again. “I tell people straight-up, don’t tell me you have an emergency, because then we would have to charge emergency fees,” he says. Boomrod’s engineers have designed systems that can achieve long term sanitation goals beyond just an emergency reaction. These specifically designed systems can proactively defend a client’s food stream while increasing plant sanitation effectiveness less expensively than an emergency reactive response.

Boomrod points to a recent example where a seafood processing plant was shut down by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) following a failed inspection. “We took 180 employees, went in and sanitized and it took us three days,” Boomrod says. “That’s just not cost effective. If we had our processes in place we could have prevented that scenario from ever happening.”

GDI’s food plant sanitation services include on-site plant evaluation and recommendations, Master Sanitation Schedules (MSS), review or development of Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP), employee training, training records, documentation and chemical supply monitoring. The company has achieved numerous third-party validations and certifications, including ISO-14001, ISO \-9001 and CIMS Certification. This has allowed GDI to never fail a food plant audit whether internal to a client or external such as governmental (FDA and USDA) or third party (BRC, SQF or AIB).

From bankruptcy to billions

Boomrod came to the company in 2000 following a period of transition in the company’s long history. After the company CEO died in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks in 2001, the company began to lose its edge in the janitorial and landscaping markets, both of which suffered from periods of overall decline.

Omni entered bankruptcy proceedings and Boomrod was selected to present the stalking horse bid on behalf on the new ownership group. Under the guidance of Ahmed Boomrod, president and CEO, and a new ownership and management team, GDI quickly began to recapture market share and quickly bounced back from a historic low of $25 million a year in revenues to $65 million in just a few years.

Having experienced meteoric growth in the U.S. market, GDI Omni knew it would have to look beyond its typical operating area to reach the next growth plateau. In 2011 that opportunity arose when GDI merged with a Canadian partner to form GDI Integrated Facility Services, instantly becoming one of North America’s largest integrated facility service providers with over 22,000 employees and more than $900 million in revenue.

As a company that is constantly looking to grow, GDI has set some ambitious revenue goals for the near future. The company went public in May 2015 (TTX: GDI) and has a stated goal of reaching $2 billion in revenue by 2020. “We’re already on pace to hit $1 billion by the second quarter of this year,” says Boomrod.

“That’s not even a far-fetched goal. We could be third, second or first in the U.S. in janitorial by then. We’re already No. 1 in Canada and can only grow so much there, but there is a lot of potential growth in the U.S.,” he says.

As a company that employs over 22,000, GDI faces the ongoing challenges of attracting quality, qualified labor. In a bid to address that issue the company will soon unveil the new GDI Technical Center in Detroit. “Labor is one of our critical challenges; if you have one bad person working on a job site you could lose a $3 million client, so the Technical Center helps us get to know the people we’re hiring and instill them with self-respect and motivation,” says Boomrod. “We are also excited to offer future course-study to our inner-city youth that have that entrepreneurial spirit to give them the skills and tools to build their own successful company through a GDI franchise.”

When Boomrod isn’t helping GDI to become North America’s largest integrated facility service provider, his attention is focused halfway around the world where he works to provide food to Syrian refugees; GDI recently joined this food relief effort. He also is involved with numerous philanthropic endeavors in the U.S.

With family ties to the area stretching back two generations, Boomrod had long provided relief to refugees along the Syria/Lebanon border, but stepped up his charitable efforts during the recent humanitarian crisis. “When refugees started pouring out we built two farms that supply 20,000 to 30,000 chickens to refugees. Hopefully we won’t need to do a third one, but we will if the need is there,” he says.

Thanks to a commitment to quality service and unique engineering methods that address specific client needs to boost the quality of service delivery while achieving financial goals, GDI Integrated Facility Services will continue to grow and serve its diverse clientele across the U.S. and Canada as one of North America’s largest facility service providers. GDI will also continue with its philosophy of environmental stewardship and philanthropic activities to better our world for its customers, its employees and the global community. 

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